NATURAL INFRASTRUCTURE CONCEPT IN ARID REGIONS: TWO CASE STUDIES IN EGYPTIAN CONTEXT
Free (open access)
Volume 6 (2011), Issue 3
336 - 359
N. MAHMOUD & P. SELMAN
The term ‘green infrastructure’ in arid areas may not be ‘green’ as a colour. It is used as a metaphor to improve the cultural, historic and social values in these areas. Thus, natural infrastructure (NI) as a whole term and green infrastructure as a specific and common concept are classified as valuable infrastructure in Middle Eastern countries, particularly Egypt, possibly because in arid areas there is relatively little landscape that is naturally green with a small amount of rainfall. Additionally, the social and cultural resources are considered as the basic factors of green and blue infrastructure in arid zones because the nature of people who live in arid areas is different from others. This paper outlines the concept of NI in the Egyptian context via two different case studies, each of which has its own aspects, in terms of spatial planning strategies. There have been specific features that highlight and draw the main theme of each case. These features are related to specific criteria, such as location, scale, urban features and associated activities. The first case is about the natural connectivity along the River Nile that naturally links the three biggest islands and connects different urban communities. The second case is the ecological connection of a green network within the urban district of Maadi and the natural, environmental and historic protected area of Wadi Degla. These main two areas represent the natural, cultural activities and biodiversity. This article, therefore, analyses these cases by using IKONOS GIS maps of Greater Cairo. These maps have been based on the official documentations, from site visits and through conducting interviews with specialists who have responsibilities for spatial planning either in academic or professional sectors in Egypt.
connectivity, cultural and historic values, ecological corridor, environmental landscape projects, green corridor, green infrastructure, irrigation system, multi-functionality, natural infrastructure, planning strategy, social sustainability, spatial plan